$25M Texas cancer trial network shuts down

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 29, 2013 at 6:04 pm •  Published: January 29, 2013
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Geyer said the trial network is folding just as progress was finally being made. Just a week ago, Geyer said, the network was on the verge of enrolling patients in its first clinical trial.

"The real irony is that we were really on the cusp of launching the thing in a very serious way," Geyer said.

Bill Gimson, the former executive director of cancer institute who resigned last month as problems with the state agency mounted, said in an email to the AP that the intent of the network was to provide more opportunities for Texas cancer patients to enroll in clinical trials. Only 3 percent of Texans with cancer are in clinical trials, Gimson said.

"CTNeT was created for Texas to help cancer patients in the State access a higher level of care," GImson said. "It is groundbreaking, imaginative and revolutionary and does not fit the mold of, nor can be judged as, a typical state-funded effort."

The cancer institute was a darling of the scientific community and some of the nation's biggest advocacy groups, including the American Cancer Society, after launching in 2009 as an unprecedented cancer-fighting effort on the state level. The agency oversees the nation's second-largest pot of cancer research dollars, next to only the federal National Institutes of Health.

That money is now frozen, with the institute under a moratorium until confidence in the agency is restored. Prior to CTNeT shutting down, most troublesome to the state agency was awarding $11 million to a private biotech firm in Dallas despite never reviewing the company's proposal.

That led to public corruption officers in Travis County and the Texas attorney general's office launched separate investigations. No one has been accused of wrongdoing.

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